FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH...As a rule, such date if marks any event, it is certainly not prosperous. But with the first British jet bomber “Canberra” the opposite happened: it was Friday, may 13, 1949 he made the first flight, and more than half a century faithfully served on different continents. Here and believe after that in signs!

The story of this project began in 1944, when the first fighter jets “meteor” only entered service with the Royal air force. The creation of jet bombers began the “pillars” English bomber aircraft — the company “Vickers”, “Handley page” and “Avro”. But the choice of the air Ministry fell on the project less credible “bomb the world” by “English electric”.
To the beginning of work on Canberra “English electric” already had a rich experience in large-scale production in a short timeframe, thus demonstrating the high culture of production. But KB, the plant had. He had to be created from scratch. To achieve this goal, the company’s CEO George Nelson asked William pettera working since 1929 in a family firm “Westland” technical Director, as the chief designer of the new KB. By the time William Pitter was already an experienced specialist. In a short time was formed by a team of engineers, subsequently formed the backbone of the design team for many decades and created such machines, as R. 1, the lightning, TSR.2, “Strikemaster”, “Jaguar” and “Tornado”.
Oddly enough, but the relationship between the newly created KB and serial plant was not easy. The plant was preparing for production of jet fighters “Vampire”, so distant prospect of a new bomber production managers were not interested. The load on the organization design of the future “Canberra” completely laid down on shoulders of the few at the initial stage of the team headed by W. Pittera.
The design of the bomber began in early 1945, has made an initial preliminary design of the chief engineer of the company “Westland” Arthur Davenport. With the power plant determined by July 1945, when he chose promising engine AJ65 company “rolls-Royce” axial compressor and the calculated thrust of 2900 kgf, which subsequently received the name of “Avon” (Avon) RA.1.
In January 1946 the firm was given a contract EZ/45 (later to be renamed OT/45) for the construction of four prototypes by the end of 1949 a Relatively large development time was probably due not only to the novelty of the task, but winning by euphoria after the Second world war.
During 1947 KB worked the layout of the prototype on a full-sized cardboard mock-up. Since the bomber had to fly with the same speed as the plane, the defensive armament on the aircraft was not provided. The emphasis was on high speed, high ceiling and good maneuverability.
To assemble the first prototype of “A1”, began in early 1949 In March came the engines, which gave the already dynamic program new momentum. Already 2 may the first prototype OT/45 in bright blue color, with the serial number VN799 was rolled out of the hangar on the factory airfield, Salisbury (Lancashire). Ground tests and runs successfully completed by may 11. In the course of their confirmed high reliability of the power plant and aircraft systems, and for 13 th chief pilot of the company Roland beaumont raised the car up in the air.
During the tests revealed the re-payment of the rudder significantly affect directional control. After completion ending the rudder test “Canberra” continued and by the end of August, the aircraft reached a speed of 870 km/h and a height of 12 800 m in early September at beaumont Roland showed a new car a delighted public at the air show in Farnborough. However, not without curiosity: at the time of opening bomb Bay doors when passing over the airfield from the “subsurface” fell loose control and recording equipment.
By the end of the year testing was joined by three prototypes in a “Canberra” V. 1. The process went pretty smoothly, and the air Ministry gave the company a contract to build 132 aircraft in triple BOM 1947
“Canberra” A. 1 number VN799 during the first flight 13 may 1949
Meanwhile, not all is rosy on the schedule for the new bomber, as it may seem at first glance. First, by the end of 1949, the tensions of William pettera and head of the production plant of Arthur Sheffield reached its climax, and then Pitter away from work on the Canberra, and in March 1950, left the “English electric”. KB was headed by Frederick Paige. Second, the original plans will be installed in the new bomber radar sights for bombing from high altitudes, but not developed. Modification of H2S radar by the time of creation “Canberra” not yet “matured”. It was decided to introduce the crew of the Navigator, and the plane to redo several, making for the third member of the crew glassed-in workplace in the bow, and to equip the bomber conventional optical sight. The new specification has received the name of B5/47, and the bombers built on it, V. 2.
It was assumed simultaneous construction of three modifications of Canberra: bomber V. 2, scout PR.S and teaching vol. 4 with dual controls. The first pre-production B. 2, a direct development options A. 1/B. 1, flew on 21 April 1950, and in October “ripe” and the first production model of the bomber. Finishing pre-production cars was carried out intensively, and by the spring of 1951, the aircraft was ready to enter into service by the Royal air force.
The first in the Royal air force boarded “Canberra” pilots of 101 squadron which was based at the airport, Binbrook, Lincolnshire. 25 may 1951 took place the ceremony of transfer of the bomber in the front part. Before the official events of the same river at beaumont effectively demonstrated to the personnel of the squadron maneuvering capabilities of the machine, which caused them enthusiasm. Of course! After low-speed “Lincoln”, which was available to the squadron, the new plane looked like a fantasy.
Given the lack of experience of flying in jet engines, pilots and navigators 101 squadron before the development of Canberra held a quick training on the fighter jets “meteor”. It took them only about three flying hours to master the basics of reactive specificity. And then began a full-fledged combat training.
The second part of the military, which was supplied by Canberra, was 231 retraining centre (airbase Bassingbourn, County Herfordshire). For the first time after receiving the new bombers in December of 1951, this part for more than 30 years was the main centre of relearning on the “Canberra” of various modifications.
In 1952 the production of the new bombers went quite rapidly. In the early years Canberra has received 617 squadron as 101-I based in Binbrook, and three months later re-started the 12 squadron based there. In the early autumn of 1952, all five squadrons Binpackage wing (including the 9th and 50th) were already in varying stages of re-new technique.
But the turning point in the transition of English bombers of the jet cars was the 1953 large-Scale serial production deployed factories “Avro”, “Handley page” and “Short brothers” as subcontracting, allowed to complete no less than 15 air squadrons and to stop the piston “of Lancaster”.
However, the successful promotion in the troops of a new bomber marred by a series of flying accidents and dangerous premises to them related to loss of control on the pitch, delaying the plane into a dive and the impossibility of withdrawal from it. The reason for such serious failures of governance were the sticking of the terminals of toggle switch control adjustable stabilizer. Contact it does not open after the pilot stopped clicking on it in the balancing process, whereby the stabilizer is shifted to a larger than necessary angle, creating a huge excess torque. Once on the aircraft the complex modifications of their operation continued. The word “Canberra” had a “bouquet” design-manufacturing flaws, who were diagnosed in almost all phases of its operation. But for military aircraft is the rule rather than the exception. Moreover, note that designing “Canberra”, English engineers had little or no experience of creating a high-speed jet aircraft, and laboratory facilities that were at their disposal, was practically absent. Yes, and decent room KB was only in 1948, and before that lived in a converted garage.
The first PR scouts.3 entered service 540 squadron (airfield Benson) in December 1952, replacing the on duty photo-reconnaissance modification of the “mosquito”. Unlike the bomber, PR.3 had a crew of two. In the fuselage you can install up to seven cameras (four or six F52 and F49 for one day of shooting or two F89, plus solar cells and photometric for night), and in the bomb Bay loaded to 1400 kg lighting bombs and missiles. Thanks to the installation of additional tanks fuel capacity increased to 2465 l, which increased the maximum range of almost 1440 km, compared to the bomber.
Flight training was conducted very intensively, at the same time worked out tactics of the new bombers. During training fights with the fighters “meteor” pilots “canberr” often brought their cars to the tail of the fighter jets and simulated attack. Parts, complete with new technology, took an active part in many drills and exercises held at that time. The main work on the task was considered to be attacks on combat order of the Soviet Navy. Great attention during training was paid to bridging the fields of radar air defense systems. Pilots “canberr” carried out flights at low altitudes, and very often they were able to pass unnoticed. The pilots of “frolicking” is not only near their radar. To the surprise of the Americans from US air force base in Laciniate, one “Canberra” from Binbrook quietly passed over their airfield, undetected by the defense system of the base.
During the operation of the design of Canberra was improved. In June 1954, 101 squadron received the improved version of the aircraft, V. 6, which was the further development of V. 2. Modification received new engines “Avon” R. A. 7 thrust 3410 kgs, two integral wing fuel tank with a capacity of 2045 litres, ejection seats for all crew members, the release system wheels. Besides the main role of the bomber planes could be used for photo-reconnaissance, which involves the installation of two AFA F97 MK.2 and associated equipment.
“Canberra” V. 2:
1—external fuel tank; 2—door crew cab; 3—Pitot; 4—lantern of the cockpit; 5—keel; 6—rudder; 7—Elevator; 8—stabilizer; 9—caudal heel; 10—wheel main landing gear; 11—wheel nose landing gear; 12—engine nacelle; 13—Aileron; a 14″knife” Aileron; 15—flap; 16—cabin Windows Navigator; 17—Aileron trimmer; 18—trimmer of the Elevator

In 1954 Canberra began to be based in Europe, joining the 2nd OTAK NATO. The location of the British became the first airfield Ahlhorn in Germany, and later another wing was deployed at the airport Gutersloh.
The cold war has made adjustments to the design of Canberra. For more effective work on the ground targets on the basis of option B. 6 we developed a modification(I)is .6, which was equipped with a hanging container with the guns (the four guns of 20 mm caliber ammunition with 525 rounds per gun) and external hardpoints for NAR and bombs. Thus modified 22 aircraft, which entered service 213 squadron. The operating experience of these machines revealed a significant drawback: a bad view from the cockpit in the course of the use of weapons. When you create a new modification In(1).8 first took to the air July 23, 1954, the designers tried to eliminate this defect, is reduced “to nothing” strengthening the combat potential of the aircraft. The nose of the aircraft redesigned. Instead of the round cap with not the best viewing characteristics, the designers set the lantern fighter type, and significantly shifted to the left, to improve visibility. Workplace Navigator moved to the bow, in front of the pilot, there was placed a new navigation and sighting equipment. The first production In(I).8 was received in mid-1956 on the arms of the 88th squadron, and until the beginning of 1958, they completed three squadron — 213-th, 88-th and 59-th. The plane was seen as a low-altitude tactical carrier of nuclear weapons capable of bombing kupirovaniya with the use of bombing from low altitude LABS. Worked out the following tactics of the bomber: the approach to the target at low altitude at a speed of 724 km/h, ascending maneuver with an overload of 3.4 g and a nuke. It is pertinent to note that before the advent in the late 1950s, heavy bombers of the series “V” (“valiant”, “Victor” and “Vulcan”) “Canberra” was seen by the military leadership of the UK as the main striking force in the strategic plans. Almost everything built for the Royal air force “eight” were in six squadrons (3rd, 14th, 16th, 59th, 88th and 213th), stationed in West Germany. Their “main caliber” was a bomb “bluff Shape” (Bluff Shape) with a capacity of 1 MT American production. By 1960 the ninth year in squadrons of the Royal air force in Germany in 15-minute readiness with specualtion on Board were on the same machine.
In actual combat the new bombers began to be used from February 1955, when the first four Canberra B. 6 of part 101 squadron relocated to Changu (Singapore), action to suppress the uprising in Malaya. After some tests in the tropics the aircraft flew to the air base Butterworth in Malaysia and proceeded to bomb rebel positions. Crews performed mainly two tactical tasks: a free search and pinpoint strikes against small camps of terrorists and bombing pre-surveyed targets.
For four and a half months, the crews of 101 squadron has completed 98 sorties, most of which occurred in the night. In 1955 — 1956 over from the 101st took other parts of the wing of Binbrook, joined by Canberra Australian and new Zealand air force, who were in Malaysia before 1960 English bombers for almost a year and a half period of participation in the operation “Miladi” completed 402 sorties and dropped on the heads of the rebels 703 tons of bombs.
In July 1956 President Nasser of Egypt announced his intention to nationalize the Suez canal and to bring it under its control. The British and French governments during the week after the announcement was made the plan of military operations for the prevention of Egypt’s intentions, the important role which was played by the air strikes. In the area of crisis it was planned to deploy 12 squadrons of “canberr”: five in Malta, the other in Cyprus. Two of the deployed squadrons — 109 and 139, the armed variants V. 6, given the role of targets and aircraft vectoring groups of bombers. Intelligence functions were assigned to team 13-squadron (with the involvement of aircraft and personnel of the 58th squadron), armed reconnaissance PR.7 (modification V. 6 for high-altitude photo-reconnaissance). The first targets of the bombing had become Egyptian airfields in the Nile Delta and the canal zone, but in the operation did not bomb them. 2 Nov 20 “canberr” bombed railway junction in NYSE than block the supply of Egyptian troops. On 5 November, the bombers attracted to the isolation of enemy forces near Port said. In December the squadron returned to the metropolis, lost in the course of operation, one photo reconnaissance PR.7. The plane was too close to the Syrian border and were intercepted by MiG-15 of the Syrian air force. The crew managed to leave the car, but after landing, he was captured.
After entering service with the British air force’s new bomber series V “Canberra” were “expelled” from Europe to the middle East. Since 1957, the aircraft began permanently based in Cyprus (Akrotiri air base), later in Iraq (habbaniya airfield), which have made training flights to Libya and Turkey. After the deterioration of relations with Iraq in the late 1950s, two squadrons — 88-I and 213-I briefly relocated to UAE (airbase Sharjah), and then returned to Germany.
In 1961 the division, based in Akrotiri, got two new modifications of the bomber. 32nd and 73rd squadrons rearmed on V. 15, and 249-I — V. 16. Both were improved versions of V. 6. V. 15 equipped with wing fuel tanks and additional external hardpoints, V. 16, beyond the outer pylons were fitted with improved navigational equipment. Both modifications were carriers of nuclear weapons and were on duty in Akrotiri until 1969 In the late 1960s, in the period of modernization of the Iranian air force new fighter jets F-4 and F-5, Canberra was frequently involved in joint training with Iranian pilots, in which they imitated the high-speed flying targets. To the credit of the British, the percentage of interceptions of new fighters was quite low.
Participated “Canberra” and the British nuclear programme. Some cars were adapted to study the effects of the radioactive cloud on the equipment and crews, and they were actively used in trials conducted by the British in the 1950s in the Pacific ocean. So, with the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb in may 1957, two Canberra PR.7 out of 100 squadron, had collected air samples. Two aircraft V. 6 of 76 squadron, equipped with rocket boosters passed through the radioactive cloud at a height of 17 078 metres, took samples of air and radioactive particles. After planting the machine was deactivated, and the tests were loaded into a few PR.7 out of the 58 squadron and sent to the metropolis. During the intermediate landing on the island of Newfoundland (Canada) from getting in charge of the snow one of the planes crashed.
Improving air defense systems, the appearance of air defense systems and high-speed interceptors with missile weapons forced them to search for “Canberra” in the late 1950-ies a new role for more effective use. At this time, began to produce a new modification of the aircraft, designed to solve specific problems.
In 1958, two bomber V. 2 was modified in the aircraft electronic intelligence. Usually these machines flew along the Soviet coast of the Baltic sea and recorded the radio traffic on a tape recorder, mounted in the bomb Bay. Later they were joined by modified in the same way Q. 6 from the composition of the 51st squadron. For almost 20 years, until 1976, these machines are “listened to” our radio.
In 1966, on the basis of the Watton shaped 360-squadron with a variant of the Canberra T. 17 intended for doing the RAP in order to teach operators station counter and training of the personnel of the Royal air force and Navy in terms of electronic warfare. The new version of the aircraft had a rather “exotic” view through a modified bow and a significant number of sensors and antennas. Twelve machines were equipped with several systems RAP placed at the bow and in the bomb Bay. The aircraft were operated until 1988
For training of fighter pilots in the 1960 — 1970s, the command was formed into three squadrons, which were completed with various modifications by Canberra. The first of them consisted of 25 cars of different modifications, including T. 11 and T. 19. T. 11 in the bow was installed radar interceptor “javelin” and equipped with four workstations for students. Vol. 19 had a radar with custom frequency settings and has been used to simulate attacks on Soviet fighter planes for training of pilots “lightning” and operators of antiaircraft-rocket complexes “the Bloodhound”. These modifications were in service until the early 1990s, Another school option Canberra TT. 18 — was equipped with two underwing winches for towing different types of targets.
A number of “canberr” was converted into a drone variants (modifications of U. 10 and D. 14) were used for testing a new missile weapons, as well as for many other research purposes. Thus, in 1961, not less than 20 companies operated about 50 unmanned vehicles for various kinds of tests and experiments.
The efficiency of the RR scouts.W and RR.7 was limited to the height of their characteristics. As low altitude, this aircraft was essential, argued that its use in the course of military conflicts, and during deployment of aircraft in Europe. Thanks to the pictures taken with the scouts, cartographers have developed detailed maps of almost all of Europe for the introduction of flight routes in the memory of UR “blue Steele”, which was armed with long-range bombers. And in the middle East, the scouts had done a good job. Already mentioned the Suez crisis, a conflict between Iraq and Kuwait (1962 — 1964), Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi (1970) — everywhere, it was a reconnaissance Canberra.
And yet the military wanted to fly higher and see farther. In the early 1960 appeared high-altitude reconnaissance plane PP.9. More powerful engines “Avon” 209 4990 kgf thrust, larger scale and chord centre wing — all this allowed the aircraft to reach an altitude of 18 300 m. the cockpit canopy, as In(1).8, was shifted to the left. In the midst of the Cuban missile crisis, high-altitude reconnaissance used to photograph the Soviet ships loading in ports of the Baltic sea.
A pair of altitude reconnaissance
Pair altitude reconnaissance “Canberra” PR.9 from part of 39 squadron in flight, 1970
Intelligence capabilities of the aircraft are continuously improved through the use of all the new special equipment: IR system linear scanning ARI 5969/3, F96 cameras with a focal length of 36 inches, the same installed on the American spy U-2R. The resolution of these cameras is 460 mm with a height of 15 to 200 m. With the advent of GPS receiver, its entered into the navigation system. Later part of his equipment included an electron-optical system similar to that used on the American U-2S, in particular RADEOS (Rapid Deployment Electro-Optical System) manufactured by Goodrich (Goodrich Corporation). In the photographic equipment was included panoramic camera KA-93 with a focal length of 24 inches.
PR.9 was used in almost all conflicts involving the Royal air force. In 1982, seven cars were involved in the Falklands campaign, making razvedroty over Argentina and the South Atlantic. Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Somalia — everywhere is the work for these first class scouts during the recent conflict. And that high-altitude reconnaissance of part of 39 squadron were the latest modification, officially (and very justly) taken out of service the Royal air force July 28, 2006
Almost immediately after the establishment of Canberra began to be exported abroad. The first buyers were the U.S., which in 1951, almost simultaneously with the Royal air force received two new V. 2. One of them in December of the same year, the Americans broke during the strength tests. However, the “Canberra” they liked it, and more than 400 machines under the designation b-57 was built under the license of firm “Martin”. The aircraft was manufactured in several versions bomber and scout, including high-altitude, aircraft REP and other options. American “Canberra” more than 20 years he was in the US air force, fought in Vietnam, was used by NASA for research purposes, were exported to Pakistan, Taiwan, South Vietnam, set a world record… and in General deserves a separate narration.
View on the dashboard of the pilot.
The view on the dashboard of the pilot.
Together with the United States two “Canberra” received and Australia. There is also deployed licensed production of cars, building 48 bombers. Of 2 squadron Royal Australian air force, these aircraft fought in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971 With weapons Australian “Canberra” was filmed in 1982
In addition to the US and Australia, “Canberra” was delivered in 14 countries on almost all continents except Antarctica, and as a new machine, and “used”. Export aircraft were often at war. Indian bombers were regularly bombed Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, the Rhodesian machines were used during the civil war, 1972 — 1979, Ethiopia — in the events of 1977 And the Argentine-the aircraft had a chance to war against their “own” during the Falklands conflict of 1982 To the beginning of hostilities Argentina had ten bombers V. 62 (export version V. 2) and two training T 64. At the initial stage the aircraft had been involved in the exploration of English combat formations, later the bombers began to use for its intended purpose. Argentine Canberra has carried out 35 sorties were lost two cars: one was hit, “the Sidewinder” British “sea Harrier”, the second struck the antiaircraft fire.
Mainly active operation by Canberra ended in the 1980s, although some of the machines remained in service in some countries until the beginning of the XXI century. Of centenarians in the world of aviation, perhaps, can be counted on the fingers. In all, over 21 years of serial production built 1376 aircraft in more than 20 versions (not counting license production). On the plane, “Canberra” set 22 world records.

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